SQL Server Clustering

The technique of linking multiple servers or instances to a single database is known as database clustering. When one server is insufficient to handle the volume of data or the number of requests, a Data Cluster is required. The database information is managed using SQL, which is a language of programming. In this blog, we are going to discuss clustering SQL Server. We will explore the concepts such as what is SQL Server Clustering, Why SQL Server Clustering, clustering solutions for SQL Server SIOS, SIOS DataKeeper Cluster Edition, Linux SIOS Protection Suite, Clustering solutions in SIOS vs Microsoft SQL, Clustering SQL Server in the cloud.

What is SQL Server Clustering?

SQL Server clustering is a term that describes a collection of two or more physical servers (nodes) connected by a local area network (LAN), each of which hosts a SQL server instance and has access to shared storage. When a server hosting the SQL Server instance fails, clustering SQL servers provide high availability and disaster prevention.

A hardware breakdown on a standalone server can bring your activities to a standstill. If a node fails, clustering allows you to instantly fail over to another node with minimal downtime, allowing your users to continue working while IT works to resolve the issue. You can quickly roll back operations once the primary server is fixed.

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Why SQL Server Clustering?

SQL Server clustering can help reduce downtime when applying upgrades and security patches as compared to using a stand-alone server.

While SQL Server clustering increases availability and reduces downtime, it does not improve server or application performance. You must boost the computational power of the servers to improve performance.

SIOS SQL Server Clustering Solutions are introduced in this article, along with a high-level comparison of SIOS and Microsoft's SQL clustering solutions.

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Clustering Solutions for SQL Server SIOS

SIOS Technology Corp. provides high-availability clustering solutions to help you recover from infrastructure and application failures automatically. SIOS offers two options for ensuring SQL Server high availability:

  • SIOS DataKeeper Cluster Edition: It's a Windows application that uses Microsoft Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC) to enable SQL Server clustering with or without shared storage (SANless). A SANless environment removes single points of failure, improves replication performance, protects non-SQL Server applications, and safeguards distributed transactions and system databases.
  • SIOS Linux Protection Suite: In a SAN or SANless environment, it protects business-critical applications and databases, including SQL Server, with a tightly integrated combination of failover clustering, continuous application monitoring, data replication, and configurable recovery rules.

Let's take a closer look at each solution's features and benefits.

SIOS DataKeeper Cluster Edition

Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC) is a high-availability component of the Windows Server platform. WSFC is often used to offer high availability for SQL Server applications. WSFC coordinates redundant computing resources and controls the recovery of SQL Server processes and data on a standby node in the event of a server or application failure. Unfortunately, there is no SAN accessible if you want to operate your SQL Server application in the cloud.

SIOS DataKeeper Cluster Edition enables you to simply construct a SANless WSFC for your SQL Server applications running in the cloud, in virtualized environments like VMware or Hyper-V, or on physical servers with only local storage to provide high availability and disaster recovery. SIOS cluster software synchronizes local storage via real-time (synchronous or asynchronous) block-level replication, while WSFC controls the software cluster. WSFC sees the synchronized storage as regular SAN-based storage. Hybrid cloud arrangements between an on-premises data center and the cloud can also be created for disaster recovery protection.

Microsoft has fully validated SIOS DataKeeper Cluster Edition software, which provides Enterprise-Class availability in any configuration across cloud regions and zones.

SIOS SANless clusters not only reduce the cost, complexity, and risk of a single point of failure associated with a SAN, but they also enable you to employ the latest in fast PCIe Flash and SSD storage for performance and protection in a single cost-effective solution.

Linux SIOS Protection Suite

The Linux SIOS Protection Suite consists of the following features:

  • SIOS LifeKeeper: It is a versatile failover clustering software that monitors the entire application stack and orchestrates SQL Server application failover in accordance with industry best practices.
  • SIOS DataKeeper: It is a host-based, block-level data replication solution for mirroring local storage in a SANless cluster arrangement or disaster recovery replication to remote sites or the cloud.
    Multiple Application Recovery Kits (ARKs): It provides the application intelligence as well as automatic configuration and validation to secure your mission-critical applications and data from outages and disasters.

SIOS Protection Suite could support a standard HA hardware-based cluster in a SAN environment, but it can also be used to build a shared-nothing approach to server clustering, allowing it to function SANless. For a wide range of applications, it provides a resilient, versatile, and simply configurable solution with automatic and manual failover/failback recovery rules.

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Clustering Solutions in SIOS vs. Microsoft SQL

On the market, there are alternative SQL Server clustering options. Microsoft provides some of the most popular SQL Server clustering solutions, including:

  • Basic Availability Groups in SQL Server.
  • Availability Groups in SQL Server Always On.
  • Shared Storage SQL Server Failover Cluster Instances

SQL Server Basic Availability Groups is a Windows-based clustering engine that can support up to two nodes. It functions similarly to a database mirroring solution. While both clustering and mirroring promote high availability, mirroring only allows for database failover. Clustering is the preferable approach if you have additional services, files, or other resources outside of SQL that you need after a failover, or if you have multiple databases that must stay together.

SQL Server Always On Availability Groups runs on both Windows and Linux, and it "provides an enterprise-level alternative to database mirroring," according to Microsoft. It needs an expensive SQL Server Enterprise Edition.

When you use SQL Server Standard Edition with SIOS' SQL clustering solutions, you can save up to 70% on software licensing expenses while getting enterprise-class clustering functionality.

Windows and Linux are supported by SQL Server Failover Cluster Instances with Shared Storage. It's a one-site solution that necessitates the use of a SAN.

SANs, however, are costly to buy and operate, necessitate SAN administration knowledge, and are a single point of failure. The performance of a database can also be impacted by a SAN.

Here's a more extensive comparison of SQL Server Always On, SQL Server Failover Cluster, and SIOS DataKeeper Cluster Edition's benefits and weaknesses.

Clustering SQL Server in the Cloud

SIOS DataKeeper and SIOS Protection Suite for Linux offer high availability and disaster recovery protection for Windows and Linux applications running on any physical, virtual, cloud, or hybrid cloud architecture. For instance, SIOS DataKeeper could:

  • Protect critical on-premises or hybrid business applications, such as SQL Server, in AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud high-availability Windows or Linux environments.
  • Create a Windows or Linux cluster on AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud to protect your SQL Server cloud application.
  • By failing over SQL Server instances across cloud availability zones or regions, you may provide sitewide, local, or regional high availability and disaster recovery protection.

Both SIOS DataKeeper Cluster Edition and SIOS Protection Suite for Linux can provide fully certified high availability cluster protection across cloud regions and availability zones, simulating clustered shared storage.

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Conclusion:

SIOS offers solutions that cover a wide range of applications, operating systems, and infrastructure environments, allowing you to use a single solution to meet all of your high availability requirements. Here are a few instances that show how powerful SIOS may be.

  • SIOS DataKeeper with WSFC was used by PayGo (paygoutilities.com) to provide high availability for SQL Server on AWS.
  • In a critical healthcare network environment, a healthcare information service provider employs SIOS DataKeeper to protect their important SQL Server in more than 18 cluster nodes, minimizing bandwidth concerns, boosting data protection, and reducing downtime.
  • Mavis Discount Tire relies on SIOS DataKeeper Cluster Edition to keep its mission-critical SQL Server up and running.

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Gayathri
Gayathri
Research Analyst
As a senior Technical Content Writer for HKR Trainings, Gayathri has a good comprehension of the present technical innovations, which incorporates perspectives like Business Intelligence and Analytics. She conveys advanced technical ideas precisely and vividly, as conceivable to the target group, guaranteeing that the content is available to clients. She writes qualitative content in the field of Data Warehousing & ETL, Big Data Analytics, and ERP Tools. Connect me on LinkedIn.